06/15/2017  |  Something’s Brewing, All Right—A Fresh, New Look to Our Brewpubs

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Have you noticed? Our restaurants are getting a fresh look! Just like our beer has evolved over time, so have our customers’ preferences—right down to seating. We heard you, and we’re excited to raise a glass to our new digs.

“Our West Chester location is almost 20 years old—it was time,” said Iron Hill Brewery & Restaurant President Kevin Finn. “What really drove the renovation was how our concepts have changed over the years. When we opened, there were still smoking and nonsmoking sections, so the wall that ran down the middle of West Chester was a separator. That issue went away years ago, so the wall really wasn’t needed.”

The recent overhaul wasn’t just about form and function, however. Kevin points out that in the first decade, people came in looking to sit at a table, so the dining room would fill first and the more casual area by the bar was overflow. That’s completely changed: Today’s customers want to belly up to the bar or be on the “bar side.”

Walk into the West Chester location now and you’ll see exactly what Kevin means. It’s a bright, open space with a clear view from the windows on Gay Street to the back of the restaurant. The host area that also served as a demarcation of sorts plus the bar service area were removed, as was the back bar. Now, the entire restaurant is a mix of booths, tables and—of course!—a spacious bar.

“We moved the bar from the middle of the room to along the brewery wall and added bigger windows so you can see into the brewery,” Kevin explained. “We’re showcasing our brewers—after all, we are a brewery! People love to watch what’s going on.”

You’ll also get subtle and artsy reminders of our brewery heritage through beer-themed images around the restaurant. And West Chester isn’t our only location to get a face-lift. Media’s vibe was updated to embrace the open concept, but with a twist. There, you can strike up conversation as you enjoy beers and craft cuisine at our community tables. Media also features a U-shaped booth in a more private area in the back that can accommodate up to eight guests.

Our Huntingdon Valley location opened in 2016 with a more open feel, exposed brewery and the diner-friendly community tables. It’s also our first location to have a beer garden.

“We’ll definitely extend the concept to Center City, scheduled to open in 2018,” Kevin added. “It’s a smaller space than West Chester, but we’re excited about the design and keeping the airy feel.”

Will other Iron Hill locations follow suit, you ask? It’s likely, but you’ll just have to keep eye on our blog for those updates. In the meantime, stop by and see us for a just-tapped beer and our fresh, scratch-made American cuisine.

With 12 locations in Pennsylvania, Delaware and New Jersey—and Center City scheduled to open in 2018—there’s an Iron Hill Brewery & Restaurant near you. We specialize in handcrafted beers and fresh, from-scratch New American cuisine. Monthly releases vary by location, so scout out our beers on tap and visit us soon.

Nina Malone

Top and bottom photos: Lauren Turton; two middle photos: Kevin Finn

06/02/2017  |  Meet the Team: Iron Hill’s The Brothers Gundrum

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Working at Iron Hill Brewery & Restaurant is like being part of a family. Or, in some cases, it turns out your fellow brewer is family. Such is the case with Matt and Jeff Gundrum, two brothers-in-brewing who are real-life bros, too. Matt is West Chester’s Head Brewer, and Jeff is Huntingdon Valley’s Lead Brewer.

How did two siblings who are 13 years apart end up in the same profession at the same brewery? Read on to find out how Jeff survived being the little brother and grew up to follow in Matt’s footsteps. Spoiler alert: There are noogies involved.

Let’s start with the basics. How old are you?

Jeff: I’m 25 years young. Gundrum the younger.

Matt: I’m 38 years old. Gundrum the elder, wiser, smarter and more handsome.

Where did you grow up?

Jeff: I was born in Pottstown, and grew up in the small town of St. Peter’s Village near Bucktown. St. Peter’s Village is an old mining town with buildings hundreds of years old. It’s got hiking trails everywhere, boulders the size of trucks, swimming holes and a big quarry that has about a 75-foot drop that I used to jump in. It was a great place to grow up.

Matt: I grew up in Cedars, a small little village near Skippack. Our family didn’t move to St. Peter’s until I was a little older.

How did you get into brewing? Jeff, was it Matt’s influence?

Jeff: It was never a path I thought I would have any part of, but I always loved beer so perhaps it was destiny. I never had the advantage of homebrewing experience, either. As a kid, I wanted to be a firefighter, then an oceanographer and then a park ranger. I found myself on this path when I was hired as an Iron Hill server assistant (busboy) in 2011. My brother was an assistant brewer in Phoenixville at the time, so I did a “brew for a day” with him and Senior Head Brewer Tim Stumpf. That changed my life. It was an awesome experience and I wanted to be part of it. That’s when I started looking for every opportunity to get into the brewery. I would always walk by the brewery in the morning and say hello to Tim. I’d hear him blasting old-school rap, so I would make it a point to talk to him about Ultramagnetic MCs or Gang Starr—any reason to stop in. Long story short, I bugged Tim for a few years about getting in the brewery. After annoying him for a long time (and being turned down twice), I got the call. That’s where all this truly began. August 2017 will mark three years of having the coolest job in the world.

Matt: I started at 21 as a server for Valley Forge Brewing Company in Blue Bell. My first legal beer was actually a flight of great craft beer, and from that moment I was hooked. I became a bartender shortly thereafter and bounced around from place to place until I finally landed at Iron Hill in Phoenixville in 2006. After about a year of serving and bartending, an opening for an assistant brewer became available and I jumped on the opportunity. Unlike Jeff, I only had to interview once. What started as one day per week cleaning kegs and scrubbing floors for Tim evolved into a full-time job, and, ultimately, a career. I took a brief detour in 2013 when I moved to Port Jefferson, N.Y., to work as the Head Brewer of Port Jeff Brewing Company. When I returned to Iron Hill in 2016, I came back as Phoenixville’s Head Brewer. I definitely have Tim to thank, as he taught me everything I know about brewing.

Have the Brothers Gundrum ever worked at the same Iron Hill location?

Matt: I got Jeff hired as a busboy at Phoenixville with my glowing endorsement. I think he’s always wanted to be just like me, so he followed in my footsteps and started working at a great brewery. I remember as a bartender making him sit at a table to eat because he wasn’t old enough to sit at the bar. I’m pretty sure I made that rule up just for him.

Jeff: Yes, my brother referred me and I got the interview. I was cleaning up his tables and running glassware for him as a server assistant. We’ve never worked in the same location as brewers, however.

What was it like to briefly work together in Phoenixville?

Matt: I got to boss my younger brother around at work. It was awesome! He probably still doesn’t realize I used to make him bring me things I didn’t actually need ….

Jeff: Ha ha, very funny. He did tell me what to do quite a bit since I was a young busser learning the ropes. This was not out of the ordinary—I was used to him bossing me around since I’m 13 years younger. He would babysit me sometimes when I was a youngling.

What did you do before Iron Hill?

Jeff: I was a cook. I worked at St. Peter’s Inn as a grill cook when I was 18. When I was 19, I worked as a head cook at a Girl Scout summer camp. I was organizing, planning and cooking meals for hundreds of people at a time. On top of that, I would often help my dad roof houses and with other carpentry projects and odd jobs. I also worked for a physical therapist and for a drywall delivery company.

Matt: I had various jobs before Iron Hill, mainly as a bartender. I also worked on a paving crew and as a general contractor. I actually had zero brewing experience before Iron Hill, and to this day have never brewed a single batch at home.

How much of an influence was Matt on Jeff’s career choice?

Jeff: I know he’ll take all credit for this, but he’s not entirely wrong. It all started when I was much younger. Let’s just say Matt would bring craft beer to family events. So, even as Gundrum the younger, I enjoyed the flavor of hoppy craft beer. It’s also fair to say he paved the way at Phoenixville with his good reputation. I guess you could say I followed in his footsteps.

Matt: I take all the credit for Jeff’s career. In a way, my being a “bad influence” when he was younger actually turned into a good influence in the long run.

Did you two do much together growing up, considering there’s a 13-year age difference?

Jeff: In all honesty, I’m sure Matt had a lot of fun. Me? Not so much. I was the victim of many wedgies, noogies, Indian burns, purple nurples, and, of course, the dreaded skyhooks. I didn’t start hanging out with him in an equal way until I was in my 20s.

Matt: I’m sure Jeff wanted to hang out all the time when we were kids; I just wouldn’t let him.

Given that, can you give us a fond memory of growing up together?

Jeff: We had great times playing board games like Risk or Monopoly. He would often assure me that I should join forces with him so we could conquer the world. Then I found he was using me for trades so he could betray me and try to conquer the world all by himself. That’s how I learned never to give him the Boardwalk property in Monopoly and never to leave the Ukraine defenseless in Risk. Because in Risk, Ukraine is not weak!

Matt: My fondest memory of growing up with Jeff was Christmas right after I turned 21. I stayed up way too late with my dad and other brothers drinking eggnog with extra nog. After about two hours of blissful sleep, Jeff barged into my room at 6 a.m. and jumped on me to wake me up yelling, “Santa came! Santa came!” I can’t remember ever being less excited about opening presents.

You’ve got busy jobs, but what do you like to do in your precious spare time? Any hobbies?

Jeff: I have many odd or strange hobbies. When I was younger, I played bass guitar and did some vocals for a band—and would drop the occasional lyrical bomb in rap. When I hang out with my friends in my hometown, we usually shoot guns, ride four-wheelers, build forts in the woods, stoke epic fires to cook meat my friend hunted, drink beer, listen to the heaviest of heavy metal and lift weights. I’m also involved in a semi-competitive arm-wrestling team. When it’s just me, I like to cook, hike, play nerdy video games and watch Star Trek. I’m rapping again for the Iron Hill band at the June 25 Band of Brewers: Volume V. Most of my raps are nerdy ones about alien abductions, the zombie apocalypse, beer or the benefits of preserving our wildlife, specifically bears and sloths. Because sloths are like the coolest animals, ever.

Matt: I’m more of an outdoorsy type, and love to go camping and hiking with my son. I also try to get out and golf as much as time allows (which isn’t much anymore), play poker, do bar trivia and read. If I pick up a good book, chances are I won’t put it down until it’s finished. I recently finished the Wheel of Time series by Robert Jordan, a daunting 13-book juggernaut that I’d highly recommend to anyone looking for an epic read.

Back to beer! What’s your favorite Iron Hill beer to brew?

Jeff: For me, it’s between brewing IPAs or dark beers. I like brewing darker styles because the entire brewery smells like chocolate all day. I like brewing IPAs because it’s one of my favorite styles. I love the smell and taste of hops.

Matt: Chocolate Stout, because nothing beats pulverizing a 17-pound bar of chocolate with a hammer before adding it to a brew. I’m also a fan of brewing Honey Saison, because there’s always a bit of honey left over for me to taste!

What’s your favorite Iron Hill beer to drink?

Jeff: My favorite Iron Hill beer to drink is the freshest IPA we have on tap. I prefer very hoppy and pale IPAs. Sweet Leaf IPA is one of my favorites. Then I would say any traditional German lager. My favorite of that style is a classic Pilsner. And, we can’t forget Russian Imperial Stout—best in the world! It’s too strong for me to drink it at my store after work due to my long commute home. But I love sipping on that beer when it’s cold outside, near a fire in the comfort of my home.

Matt: My favorite Iron Hill beer is whichever one is in front of me when I’m finished working. Nothing beats finishing up a long day in the brewery, walking 20 feet and tasting the fruits of my labor.

What’s your favorite Iron Hill food and beer pairing?

Jeff: I love getting the spiciest dish we have and pairing it with an IPA. If I’m eating pizza, I love to wash it down with a palate-quenching lager. My all-time favorite is our ribeye steak with a Russian Imperial Stout. You just can’t beat the Russian’s deliciousness paired with the juicy and savory flavors of a well-made steak. Mid-rare is a must!

Matt: My favorite pairing has to be anything at the beer dinners that we offer at various times throughout the year. We hosted one in Phoenixville that featured five courses of Creole cuisine developed by head chef Dave Wassel that we paired with five different beers. Specifically, Dave’s crawfish etouffee paired perfectly with our Hopzilla IPA. There’s really no other experience like one of these dinners.

Truth time: Tell us something no one else knows about you!

Jeff: Here’s a few: I love to bake cookies and desserts. I’ve also been trying a bit of yoga lately. I’ve seen every episode of Star Trek ever made, but when I watch other TV shows it’s usually history-focused documentaries. I go by my middle name (my given name is Thomas Jeffrey Gundrum).

Matt: I spent over a month at a wilderness survival school learning how to live off the earth with the barest of necessities. That was probably the coolest experience of my life.

There’s just about everything we need to know about these fun-loving, beer-obsessed Iron Hill brewers. Well, maybe one more thing: Matt earned a 2016 Great American Beer Festival bronze medal in the Bock category for Bridge Street Bock. We suspect Jeff’s looking to follow in Matt’s footsteps in this area, too.

With 12 locations in Pennsylvania, Delaware and New Jersey—and Center City scheduled to open in 2018—there’s an Iron Hill Brewery & Restaurant near you. We specialize in handcrafted beers and fresh, from-scratch New American cuisine. Monthly releases vary by location, so scout out our beers on tap and visit us soon.

Nina Malone

04/23/2017  |  Try This: Spicy Peanut-Coconut Noodles with Rising Sun IPA

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Beer and vegetarian fare—it’s a winner! Yet it’s something that’s often overlooked at beer pairings. Vegetarian dishes give creative chefs more to work with as typically “secondary” ingredients take center stage. Adding the right beer serves to enhance those culinary efforts—just ask those in attendance at Maple Shade’s recent vegan beer dinner (a first for Iron Hill), which sold out quickly and left many customers requesting an encore date.

Missed the vegan beer dinner? No worries, Iron Hill Brewery & Restaurant’s Scot Seher Jr., Maple Shade’s Head Chef, whipped up a vegetarian recipe you can make at home using Rising Sun, now available in 16-oz. cans. “Beer isn’t just something to drink with your food,” he explained. “It complements and contrasts flavors to turn food into an experience because it pairs with each component of the dish. It elevates ingredients that are normally side dishes to star status.”

Do you think barbeque, steak or other hearty proteins when you think beer? You’re not alone. Yet according to Scot, his recipe, Spicy Peanut-Coconut Noodles with Rising Sun IPA, would not be better with beef, chicken or even shrimp added; it would just be different. Adding American-style IPA Rising Sun, a light, well-balanced beer with notes of lemon and coconut plus a pronounced hop-kick from Japanese Sorachi Ace hops, showcases the recipe’s fresh, crisp veggies and complex sauce.

“Rising Sun makes sense for a few reasons,” Scot added. “The spice and fruit notes come through nicely with the coconut milk and spices used in the dish. Plus, the Japanese Sorachi Ace hops bring out spice and citrus notes that work well with an Asian dish.”

Scot’s pleased to note that Iron Hill offers vegetarians several menu options, plus more as daily specials. Those who prefer not to eat meat or fish should check out the Mediterranean wrap, the black bean burger, salads and pizzas, plus a number of appetizers.

“Any salad or pizza can be made without protein,” Scot added. “See something else you’d like to customize? Just ask. We also have a special menu for those with gluten sensitivity.”

Intrigued? Pop into your favorite Iron Hill, grab a four-pack of Rising Sun, and wow your family and friends with this vegetarian beer pairing.

Recipe for Spicy Peanut-Coconut Noodles with Rising Sun IPA

Serves 4

Ingredients

  • 16 ounces spaghetti or buckwheat soba noodles (cook’s choice!)
  • 4 tablespoons of your favorite cooking oil
  • 1 tablespoon ginger
  • 1 tablespoon garlic
  • 9 ounces carrots, shredded
  • 6 ounces red onion, sliced
  • 3 ounces peanuts, chopped
  • 12 ounces cabbage, shaved
  • 2 ounces cucumber, diced
  • Juice of 1 lime
  • Cilantro as needed

Method

  1. Boil pasta until al dente using directions on package; set aside.
  2. Add oil to hot wok or sauté pan.
  3. Add garlic and ginger, and cook until light golden brown.
  4. Add onion and carrot and cook for 2 minutes.
  5. Add cabbage and peanuts, and cook for 2 minutes more.
  6. Add pasta and toss to mix all ingredients.
  7. Add sauce (see recipe below) to sauté pan and allow dish to simmer for 2 minutes.
  8. Serve in your favorite bowl and garnish the top with fresh cilantro leaves.

Sauce Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons sesame oil
  • 1 ounce serrano pepper (or any chili pepper)
  • 1 teaspoon garlic
  • 1 teaspoon ginger
  • 5 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 4 tablespoons rice vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons sriracha
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • 1 13.5 ounce can coconut milk
  • 4 ounces Iron Hill Rising Sun beer
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1 teaspoon salt

Sauce Method

  1. Place all ingredients in blender. Blend until mostly smooth.

With 12 locations in Pennsylvania, Delaware and New Jersey, there’s an Iron Hill Brewery & Restaurant near you. We specialize in handcrafted beers and fresh, from-scratch New American cuisine. Monthly releases vary by location, so scout out our beers on tap and visit us soon.

Nina Malone

Photos: Sophia DiPersio, Iron Hill

03/21/2017  |  A Love Affair with Bacon

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“I cannot tell a lie: Bacon is my favorite vegetable,” admitted David Foster, our Wilmington Executive Chef. You know a love affair with all things porcine is real when someone’s bursting at the seams to say those words.

Any doubts you might still have about Dave’s bacon obsession will fade quickly when you realize he’s crafted a bacon-infused cheesecake that also uses bacon fat instead of butter in the crust and bacon in the topping. It makes his Bacon-Brisket Chili almost sound tame.

“My adoration for bacon started early; I’ve loved it as long as I can remember,” he added. “I’m addicted to the flavor, the texture and all that saltiness. It’s perfect.”

Donning his Iron Hill Brewery & Restaurant toque, Dave explains that bacon is a universal product that can go with virtually everything. He cites it as an obvious go-to atop burgers, other sandwiches and salads, thanks to its slight crunch and smoky notes. But Dave is an equal opportunity piggy parts purveyor. Case in point: He pays homage to bacon’s upper-crusty side by using roasted pork belly to wrap the filet whenever he makes a Beef Wellington.

“Pork belly is rich, almost buttery, and that makes it a natural with the Wellington’s savory mushrooms and puffed pastry,” he added with a slight drool.

Back to the bacon-laden cheesecake. Dave spent time as a baker and found it natural to incorporate his favorite “vegetable” into confections. Now, bacon is the darling of the treat scene, showing up candied, dipped in chocolate, nestled in toffee, mixed into brittle and tucked into cupcake frosting.

“Saltiness is a natural partner for sweetness,” Dave said. “Chop up bacon and fold it into chocolate brownie batter to taste how bacon’s characteristics brings out chocolate’s sweet notes.”

Another natural pairing? Bacon and beer. As a restaurant and brewery, we know a little something about that combo. Iron Hill has had its share of beer-and-bacon dinners (and will continue to offer them) that Dave and his fellow chefs see as opportunities to not only show off bacon’s greatness as an ingredient, but also to pair it with Iron Hill beer.

“You open a door when you pair beer with bacon,” Dave noted. “You’re used to seeing a good contrast (something spicy, like our fiery chipotle chicken wings app with our hoppy Ore House IPA) and a complement (something creamy, like our Triple Chocolate Hill dessert with our malty Russian Imperial Stout). Yet, it’s even better when you add bacon. The saltiness and richness we’ve been talking about cuts through something hearty like a classic chowder, and when you add a less-hoppy beer, like our Vienna Red™ Lager, it further cuts through the cream without overpowering the flavors. Bacon really is the perfect food. Have I mentioned that?”

Dave gets a bit nostalgic when mulling over his versatile, favorite ingredient. “A lot of people think bacon and think grocery store sliced bacon. Some know about pork belly. I invite you to think outside the breakfast menu and try prosciutto and pancetta, and to sample other cuts of meat like rib eye, lamb, goat, duck—you name it!—that have been cured in the style of bacon. Take a risk. You can’t go wrong!”

You also can’t go wrong with these two recipes, either, courtesy of our Dave “Bacon King” Foster. Stop by your favorite Iron Hill and grab a growler of our Pig Iron Porter and Vienna Red™ Lager so you’ll have some for cooking and some for taste testing. Cheers!

Bacon-Brisket Chili

Serves 8

Ingredients:

  • 3 pounds beef brisket, cleaned and cut into 2-inch cubes
  • Kosher salt, to taste
  • 4 ounces vegetable oil
  • 1 pound bacon slices
  • 1 pound yellow onion, thinly diced
  • 3 tablespoons garlic, chopped
  • 3 tablespoons chili powder
  • 2 tablespoons cumin powder
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 3 10-ounce cans diced tomatoes
  • 12 ounces Iron Hill Vienna Red™ Lager
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper

Optional garnish:

  • Monterey Jack cheese
  • Red onion, minced

Method:

  1. Trim and cube beef brisket into 2-inch cubes and season with salt.
  2. In a large pot, heat oil and sear brisket on all sides in batches; don’t overfill the pan.
  3. Reserve beef on separate plate.
  4. In remaining oil, cook sliced bacon until crisp.
  5. Reserve bacon on separate plate.
  6. Add onion and cook until soft.
  7. Add garlic and cook until aromatic.
  8. Add all dry spices and cook for 30 seconds.
  9. Deglaze pan with Vienna Lager (this will combine all the spices and loosen items from pan).
  10. Add tomatoes and incorporate.
  11. Add reserved beef and any liquid remaining.
  12. Add reserved bacon and incorporate.
  13. Bring to a simmer and let cook for 2 hours or until meat is tender.
  14. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Chocolate Porter Cheesecake

Serves 12

Ingredients:

Crust:

  • 1 cup graham crackers, crushed
  • 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 2 tablespoons cocoa powder
  • 4 ounces bacon grease, melted

Cheesecake:

  • 1 1/2 pounds cream cheese, softened
  • 1 egg
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 3 ounces Iron Hill Pig Iron Porter
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 tablespoon cocoa powder
  • 3/4 cup cooked bacon, chopped

Method:

  1. Mix first four ingredients in mixing bowl. Stir in bacon grease by hand to ensure completely mixed.
  2. Add the mix to springform pan and press into a crust. Place pan in refrigerator for 30 minutes.
  3. Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
  4. In tabletop mixer, cream together all ingredients except for cream cheese.
  5. Add cream cheese to bowl and mix until smooth, about four minutes, wiping down sides often.
  6. Add batter to springform pan.
  7. Place springform pan on cooking or baking tray deep enough so water added covers the bottom of the springform pan.
  8. Bake at 325 for 30 to 40 minutes, checking with toothpick until it removes from cake clean.
  9. Remove cake from oven, place on clean sheet pan and cool overnight in the refrigerator.
  10. Once cold, evenly spread 1 cup Chocolate Porter Ganache (see recipe below) over cheesecake. Cut into 12 pieces.

Chocolate Porter Ganache

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • 4 ounces Iron Hill Pig Iron Porter
  • 1 ounce bacon grease
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
  • 10 ounces semi-sweet chocolate chips

Method:

  1. Place chocolate chips and beer into bowl.
  2. Heat heavy cream, bacon grease and butter to a simmer and pour over chocolate-beer mix.
  3. Allow the mixture to sit for 2 to 3 minutes to soften the chocolate.
  4. Mix thoroughly to incorporate chocolate until smooth.
  5. Let cool to room temperature and refrigerate.
  6. Let set overnight so it will be spreadable.

Click here to see our Beer & Bacon Madness menu, available 3/23 – 4/3.

With 12 locations in Pennsylvania, Delaware and New Jersey, there’s an Iron Hill Brewery & Restaurant near you. We specialize in handcrafted beers and fresh, from-scratch New American cuisine. Monthly releases vary by location, so scout out our beers on tap and visit us soon.

Nina Malone

Photos: Sophia DiPersio, Iron Hill

02/17/2017  |  We All Scream for Beer-Infused Ice Cream!

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There’s a lot to hoot and holler about thanks to our partnership with the University of Delaware. Think hand-churned ice creams created with Iron Hill Brewery & Restaurant’s popular craft beer. It’s a win-win for the taste buds, but this partnership is about more than those yummy scoops.

“We’re thrilled to expand our partnership with the University of Delaware, and look forward to hosting its bright, inquisitive students as part of an undergraduate internship program,” said Iron Hill Co-Founder Kevin Davies. “We’re also excited and proud to offer our guests premium, from-scratch ice creams in a way that provides support to one of the nation’s most exceptional universities.”

You read that correctly: Students in the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources (CANR) will have the chance to do six-month undergraduate brewing internships at Iron Hill that will focus on the science of brewing. Our history of partnering with the University of Delaware dates back to 1996, when we opened our first brewery and restaurant in the heart of its Newark, Del., campus. We were delighted to host CANR students in our new brewpub who were taking the “Fermentations: Brewing and Beyond” class. We still collaborate with the Alfred Lerner College of Business and Economics as an internship location for beer school master’s degree students. This newest effort extends brewing internships to undergrads.

The sweet news for our guests is that UDairy Creamery will exclusively provide our 12 locations ice cream flavors such as vanilla, chocolate chip cookie dough and malted bourbon pecan, plus chocolate stout produced using our award-winning Russian Imperial Stout. It’s the UDairy Creamery’s first wholesale partnership, and we’re more than happy to be chosen. More great news: UDairy Creamery is a nonprofit, funneling its proceeds into expanding operations and the university’s dairy-farm research efforts.

“I’m excited about the opportunity to give UD students an easy access point to a brewing internship, and that this partnership has the potential to get more students interested in food science,” said Melinda Shaw, UDairy Creamery manager. “I think—especially with food science and fermentation, and what we’re doing with our new dairy plant and the other courses—that it’s something that every food science program should offer.”

Keep an eye on our websiteFacebookTwitter and Instagram accounts to stay up to date on this program and other exciting Iron Hill news.

With 12 locations in Pennsylvania, Delaware and New Jersey, there’s an Iron Hill Brewery & Restaurant near you. We specialize in handcrafted beers and fresh, from-scratch New American cuisine. Monthly releases vary by location, so scout out our beers on tap and visit us soon.

Nina Malone

UDairy Creamery video by Paul Puglisi; photos by Steve Legato

01/31/2017  |  Score Big This Sunday with Iron Hill Growlers

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The big game is coming, but you don’t have to be a fan of either team to win. You’ll be the MVP of any party when you bring a growler (or, more!) of Iron Hill beer.

Nail kick off with our Big Game Growler Grab happening now through Sunday, Feb. 5. Fill two 64 oz growlers with your favorites from our tap list and score a free pint glass. Better still: Grab four growlers and elevate your party with a custom flight tasting right from the comfort of your couch.

Nothing pairs better with our beer than takeout from our fresh food menu (click on the location nearest you). It’s a party to go when you stop by any one of our 12 Iron Hill Brewery & Restaurant locations and catch belly-filling wings, pizzas, nachos, burgers or something vegetarian-friendly to go.

Round out the rest of your party game plan with our inclusive guide, Growler 101 with Iron Hill Brewery & Restaurant. Check our pro tips about how long beer stays fresh in a growler, which beers you can choose to put in growlers, how to maintain that precious vessel and more straight from the experts.

Wondering how to get your growler safely to the end zone … er … its final destination? Keep your head in the game with another Growler 101: Tips for Transporting Your Growlers Home Safely.

Last, but most certainly not least: We hate to brag (so indulge us), but our trophy case is filled with awards thanks to our brewers’ creativity, skills and love for great beer. Might that mojo rub off on your favorite team this Sunday? We’re hedging our bets and huddling up with growlers full of Iron Hill beer.

With 12 locations in Pennsylvania, Delaware and New Jersey, there’s an Iron Hill Brewery & Restaurant near you. We specialize in handcrafted beers and fresh, from-scratch New American cuisine. Monthly releases vary by location, so scout out our beers on tap and visit us soon.

Nina Malone

Photos: Steve Legato

 

01/23/2017  |  Brewers Dish on Iron Hill’s Belgium Comes to West Chester on January 28

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Beer lovers know January is the real “most wonderful time of the year” because that’s when Belgium Comes to West Chester (BCWC) brings one of our favorite beer styles—and lots of our brewer friends—to Iron Hill Brewery & Restaurant.

Circle Saturday, January 28, from 1-6 p.m., on your calendar and plan to be at our West Chester location, where 32 (and counting!) Belgian-style beers will be there for the tasting. According to West Chester Head Brewer Tim Stumpf, Belgian beer can be “almost anything and brewed any way the brewer chooses.” This tickles thirsty beer drinkers’ palates, thanks to spontaneous fermentation or barrel-aging, unique ingredients and so much more.

“I’ve had dandelion and mustard seed beer,” Tim said. “A lot of American brewing traditions are steeped in German beer styles, which have historically been very strict and specific. There’s a place for this, and it has its merits, but it can be limiting. For those who celebrate distinct and interesting flavors that satisfy, Belgian beers will not disappoint!”

Let’s take a moment to give a nod to BCWC’s creator, Iron Hill Chestnut Hill Head Brewer Chris LaPierre. He launched what has become an annual pilgrimage in 2007, based on his love for Belgian beers’ range of flavors and complexity. Tim said he carries on this tradition because “those who love beer tend to love more flavorful beer, and Belgian beer is the apex of satisfying flavor.”

It’s not just beer drinkers who flock to West Chester every January—our brewer friends can’t wait to bring their best to this annual fest. Belgian-style beers flow in from around the East Coast.

“This is one of the few times where we can all get together to share some beers,” Tim added. “My favorite part of BCWC is partying with the brewers and our friendly competition! This industry is like no other. Can you imagine if Apple called Microsoft and asked to borrow some technology? In the beer world, there’s tons of collaboration. Seven of the brewers coming to BCWC worked here, and I have been helped by almost everyone else. Brian O’Reilly from Sly Fox recently helped me with a cleaning chemical issue, Tim Roberts from Yards lives down the street from me and helped me move furniture, Tom Baker from Brewery Techne was our special guest at one of our first events, Mike Philbrick from Port Jeff brewed with me in Phoenixville before starting his own brewery, and this list can go on. I love these people very much.”

The love runs both ways, as evidenced by the feedback we’ve received:

Evan Fritz, Head Brewer, Manayunk Brewing Company

“The best component of this event is to see old friends and other local brewers. With so many uninteresting beer events and festivals these days, I enjoy how well Iron Hill puts together a fun day of amazing beers. We’ll be bringing Cuvée de Yunk, our Belgian-style sour ale fermented with ripe apricots. We chose this beer because it is delicious and refreshing, while complex and exciting. I’m thrilled to get the chance to try the St. Ben Dubbel and the Iron Hill Tawny Port Barrel-Aged Brett Old Ale.”

Andrew “Ruby” Rubenstein, Head Cellarman, 2SP Brewing Company

“This will be the second time 2SP Brewing has participated in BCWC. We’re sending Best Wishes, a 9.5% ABV dry-hopped saison. I always look forward to this event because it’s such a great group of people all in one room. Iron Hill always brings its best beers, and it’s fun to see the creativity and diversity of its brewers all on one list.”

Tim Patton, Proprietor, Saint Benjamin Brewing Company

“This is our first year. I’d heard of it before but was waiting until we were sending more beer into Chester County. Now that we’re doing that, it seemed like a great time to participate. We’re sending Franklin’s Abbey Dubbel—it’s one of my favorite Belgian styles. We’ve been to other Iron Hill events, so we know it’s going to be well organized and filled with attendees who are really into trying new beer.”

As for our own Tim, can’t wait to sip Denizens’ Oud Boy. “Jeff Ramirez, Head Brewer at Denizens, was once an Iron Hill brewer, and I know he is very creative. I can’t wait to try his beer. It’s a tough choice, though; I’ve never had most of these beers, and can’t wait to try them all! The Dogfish Head and Allagash beers sound very unique, and they are two breweries I really respect.”

Drink in the goodness from some of our favorite breweries (including other Iron Hill locations, of course!):

  • Big Oyster Brewery – Arya
  • Port Jeff Brewing Company – H3 Tripel
  • Sly Fox Brewing Company – Valor
  • Saint Benjamin Brewing Company – Belgian Dubbel
  • Stewart’s Brewing Company – Stumblin’ Monk
  • Brewery Techne – Bone View
  • Troegs Independent Brewing – Mad Elf
  • Denizens Brewing Company – Oud Boy
  • Vault Brewing Company – Belgian Blonde
  • Weyerbacher Brewing Company – Berry Monks
  • Yards Brewing Company – Trubbel de Yards
  • Manayunk Brewing Company – Cuvee de Yunk
  • Dock Street Brewing Company – Barrel Aged Bubbly Wit
  • Dogfish Head Craft Brewery – Siracusa Nera
  • Stickman Brews – Beer from a Farm
  • 2SP Brewing Company – Super Saison
  • 3rd Wave Brewing Company – Jessop’s Brambleberry
  • Rock Bottom Restaurant & Brewery – C’est la Vie
  • Allagash Brewing Company – James Bean
  • Victory Brewing Company – Sour Monkey
  • Iron Hill Newark – Fe20
  • Iron Hill Media – Sucker Punch
  • Iron Hill North Wales – Barrel Cherry Dubbel
  • Iron Hill North Wales – Blame the Dog
  • Iron Hill Huntingdon Valley – Akuma
  • Iron Hill Phoenixville – Honey Saison
  • Iron Hill Wilmington – Millennium Falcon
  • Iron Hill Chestnut Hill – Double Witbier
  • Iron Hill West Chester – Kabouter
  • Iron Hill Media – Funkadelphia
  • Iron Hill Media – Tawny Port Barrel-Aged Brett Old Ale
  • Iron Hill Maple Shade – The Cannibal™

Last, but certainly not least, here are Tim’s top tips for making the most of BCWC:

  • Come as early as possible.
  • Be responsible and plan for your transportation. If snagging a DD is an issue, make a reservation with Restaurant Valet: (877) 721-6155. Or you can take a page from the playbook of our Philly-area friends, who rent a bus to port them to and fro. Nice!
  • Take advantage of convenient parking. If you’re in charge of driving, you can check out the convenient and inexpensive parking practically across the street from Iron Hill in the Chestnut Street Garage. Lot full of revelers? Hit the Bicentennial Parking Garage a few blocks away on High Street. Bonus: We’ll provide two hours of parking validation!
  • Plan to eat something—throughout the day. Your best bet for grabbing a table at Iron Hill and noshing on our regular menu plus the day’s Belgium-inspired fare (see that below!) is to make a reservation well ahead of time. Use OpenTable or call us at (610) 738-9600.
  • Sip on a sampler! It’s the best way to try a variety of beers. Samplers are eight 4-ounce beers for $20. The pro move: Each friend gets a different one to share.
  • Attention King of the Hill Rewards Club members: You, our most loyal customers, may enter BCWC at noon.

One last tip: make sure your phone is charged so you can blow up your social media with the hashtag #BCWC2017. We can’t wait to welcome you to #BCWC2017!

With 12 locations in Pennsylvania, Delaware and New Jersey, there’s an Iron Hill Brewery & Restaurant near you. We specialize in handcrafted beers and fresh, from-scratch New American cuisine. Monthly releases vary by location, so scout out our beers on tap and visit us soon.

Nina Malone

 

12/28/2016  |  Homegrown Musician: Head Brewer Chris Endrikat

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There’s a pattern with Chris Endrikat, our North Wales head brewer: Give what Dad and big brother are doing a try, and then make a career of it. That’s how he got into music and home-brewing, and ended up touring the world and turning out Iron Hill Brewery & Restaurant beer.

“My dad was a jazz trumpet player, so there were always instruments around the house,” Chris noted. “My brother is two years older and got a guitar when he was 10; that’s when I got into the drums.”

Like most kids interested in music, Chris joined his elementary school band and was rewarded for his efforts with a drum set in fifth grade. Lessons continued through middle school, but by then he and his brother were finding their sound in bands—something they do to this day.

“We’ve been in five bands together,” he added. “We’re in two right now. I play the drums in one, and guitar in the other. Luckily, I have a brother who was nice enough to teach me the guitar as a kid.”

Brewing also runs in the family. His love for beer started at home as a kid, scrubbing bottles and observing his father, brother and cousin home-brew. He stumbled across Keystone Homebrew Supply, and the rest is delicious history.

“It’s amazing how many people got their start there who are now working at breweries, including Iron Hill,” Chris explained. “I really got into it when my brother and I were the best men in our friend Andrew Howard’s wedding. We got him a home-brew kit—and he went nuts with it. We brewed with him all the time. He’s now at Yards Brewing Company.”

Chris honed his brewing skills much the same way he did his musical chops—one step at a time, with hard work. He started serving at Iron Hill’s North Wales location, and the second he turned 21 he began volunteering in the brewery. He did that for several months, then was hired as an assistant. He had the opportunity to be the lead brewer in West Chester and jumped at the chance to further refine his talents and his creativity. A little over one year later, he was promoted to North Wales’ head brewer.

“One of the nice things about Iron Hill is we have the opportunity to brew traditional styles, but are free to try new and experimental beers, too,” he said.

That tracks with his musical tastes, which, like our beers on tap, change frequently. You might catch punk, reggae, ska, soul or Motown on his playlist—this week. He calls his first concert in 2003—Dropkick Murphys, an American Celtic punk hailing from Massachusetts he saw at a small club in Lancaster—a defining moment.

“The punk scene is global, but a really tight community,” Chris explained. “We were fortunate enough to grow up in a great scene in Philly. The hospitality we’ve been shown all over the world is incredible. We try to reciprocate that hospitality as often as possible, whether it’s throwing a barbecue or just letting a touring band crash with us. Very few bands actually break even on tours, so any time bands can help each other out is great.”

That’s just the start of what Chris loves about music. He’s completely into all aspects: writing, recording and touring. His bands have worked with U.S., Dutch, Czech and German record labels, which keeps them busy around our country but also opened up European tours.

“We’re extremely grateful that we get to travel to new places, whether it be the U.S., Canada or now Europe,” he said. “It’s a great way for me to see what other brewers are doing all over. We were in a craft beer bar in Barcelona, where the tap list looked very similar to a bar in the States—filled with IPAs and saisons. We also got to visit Brauerei Weihenstephan, the oldest brewery in the world, just north of Munich. It was amazing drinking a pilsner in Germany because it’s the benchmark for the style. We brew a lot of German styles at Iron Hill, so that was pretty humbling.”

How does Chris manage to be a brewer by day and musician by night? He says Iron Hill is incredibly supportive. He takes both roles seriously—whether it’s washing kegs or recording a record. He’s also well aware he’s gotten to learn brewing from some of the most award-winning brewers in the industry.

“I get to learn the brewing standards from the incredibly talented guys who came before me, and that’s something I totally appreciate and never forget,” he added.

With 12 locations in Pennsylvania, Delaware and New Jersey, there’s an Iron Hill Brewery & Restaurant near you. We specialize in handcrafted beers and fresh, from-scratch New American cuisine. Monthly releases vary by location, so scout out our beers on tap and visit us soon.

Nina Malone

Photos, top to bottom: Christine Caton, Noisy Little Critter, © Brewers Association

12/05/2016  |  From Homebrewer to Head Brewer (Plus Free Advice!): Moriah Guise

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If Newark Head Brewer Moriah Guise has heard it once, she’s heard it a thousand times: “How do I get your job?”

“I don’t mind hearing that at all,” she said, laughing. “That’s a common question among homebrewers. They have this awesome hobby and they want to make money with it. Since most of us at Iron Hill started as homebrewers, it’s a great question.”

Iron Hill Brewery & Restaurant’s storied history started with two friends who just happened to be award-winning homebrewers, Kevin Finn and Mark Edelson. It’s no surprise, then, that many homebrewers have worked their way into our ranks.

“If you’re a homebrewer, your choices are to work for an established brewery or start your own,” Moriah added. “Unless you’ve got great funding, aiming for an established brewery is the way to go. Just be prepared to work your way up; it’s hard work, but it’s worth it.”

At Iron Hill, most of our brewery staff started in another role. We love to promote from within! Many started as servers, dishwashers and other restaurant-side employees.

“We do have a few brewers who came from other breweries, but we’ve got a solid history of spying talent at Iron Hill,” Moriah said. “I started as a server in Wilmington in 2011, and fell in love with the company. I volunteered for events, helped bottle and can, and got to know everyone. I like to say I was persistent, but just on this side of being annoying! When the opportunity opened up I was able to transition to the brewery department.”

Moriah has been homebrewing for about a decade, starting when she was living in Nashville. The microbrewery scene wasn’t as robust back then, but she sought out brewers and picked their brains.

“I started hanging out in this crazy shop that was part gardening store, part homebrewing supplies,” she explained. “That’s how I started this hobby. I became a borderline science nerd by making beer I really liked. Plus, it was pretty cool to be able to give a mixed six at Christmas that I made myself.”

Once she got into our brewery, Moriah quickly became the Wilmington assistant brewer. In April 2015 she went to the Voorhees location as lead brewer, which she calls “head brewer in training.” She sharpened her management side, and earned the Newark head brewer job in November 2015.

Any Iron Hill employee eyeing a spot on the brewery has the opportunity to brew for a day. Moriah highly recommends it, as brewing isn’t all “sunshine and rainbows; there’s some grunt work that comes with it. We brewers always joke: chefs have dishwashers; we have ourselves. Those who come out for a brew day can see if they can deal with the ‘glamour’ and the grunt.”

Moriah is still active with First State Brewers, and still homebrews. She fields a lot of questions there—and at Iron Hill. Guests come in with recipes, samples and even bottles of their finished products to ask for honest feedback.

“It’s one of the really nice things about Iron Hill specifically—we’re encouraged to stay accessible to our guests,” she added. “They’ll ask us to try a beer because they feel something’s missing, recommend hops to balance a beer or just brainstorm about a style. I love that part of being an Iron Hill brewer.”

Are you a homebrewer? Thinking about it? Want the inside skinny? Stop by your local Iron Hill and see who’s in, plus check out some on-point advice, courtesy of Moriah:

Join a club.

Homebrewers clubs are “super awesome groups of people seriously interested in the hobby, from newbies to seasoned homebrewers,” Moriah said. It’s a relaxed environment to talk about recipes, hear guest speakers and get a handle on it all before you invest.

You don’t have to go to school to become a brewer.

Moriah notes that there are amazing schools that delve into brewing and fermentation science, but that the school of hard knocks also works. “Iron Hill encourages us to get continuing education, so I’m currently enrolled with the American Brewers Guild for a certification,” she said.

It’s not hard to be female in a (currently) male-dominated industry.

“Brewers are the most welcoming group of people,” Moriah explained. “Everyone is there with the same idea: to brew great beer. All walks of life—different ages, male, female, whatever—we’re all in it for the same reason.” When she does want to get in touch with her sister brewers, she takes advantage of her Pink Boots Society membership. The organization assists, inspires and encourages women beer professionals through education.

You probably won’t save money as a homebrewer—but it’s worth it.

Moriah wants you to know: you’re going to dump some beer on your homebrewing journey. And, it hurts. “It happens! You won’t be perfect coming out of the gate. We’ve all spent an entire Saturday brewing, then weeks carefully checking on our homebrew, only to find it’s bad and needs to be dumped. Stick with it! Write down everything you do, because something totally random could make or break your next batch. It’s all worth it when you take something you hand-crafted, give it to someone and say, ‘I made this.’”

With 12 locations in Pennsylvania, Delaware and New Jersey, there’s an Iron Hill Brewery & Restaurant near you. We specialize in handcrafted beers and fresh, from-scratch New American cuisine. Monthly releases vary by location, so scout out our beers on tap and visit us soon.

Nina Malone

Photos: Sophia DiPersio of Iron Hill Brewery & Restaurant

11/17/2016  |  A Fitting Tribute: Last Alarm IPA Honors Fallen Firefighters

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It took about a minute for Wilmington Head Brewer Justin Sproul to say “yes” when presented with the idea to brew a special beer to honor two local firefighters lost in the line of duty.

Iron Hill Brewery & Restaurant server Sam Cannon is a volunteer firefighter who—like many—was deeply touched by the deaths of Lt. Christopher Leach, 41, and Senior Firefighter Jerry Fickes, 51. She suggested we go beyond the Give 20 and bring in Wilmington Fire Department Local 1590 firefighters to craft a tribute beer.

“Sam’s idea made us really proud,” Justin said. “It felt really good to give back. It reminded us that we don’t need a tragedy to do something like this; we want to continue the relationship with our Wilmington firefighters and hope to make it an annual event.”

All Iron Hill locations host Give 20 events—fun and delicious ways for nonprofits to raise money by bringing together their friends and families to dine with us and enjoy 20 percent of the evening’s take. The Last Alarm IPA project went a step further: not only did 20 percent of the proceeds go to WFD Local 1590, but an additional $1 for every pint and mug of Last Alarm also was donated, right until the very last drop.

Last Alarm IPA brew day was a crisp fall day that brought together Justin and his brewing crew with five firefighters. They hung out, sampled some beers and—of course—took part in Last Alarm IPA’s creation. Justin was also moved by the firefighters’ telling stories and reminiscing about their fallen friends.

Fellow firefighter John Cawthray—who was injured in that fateful fire—pulled the first pour of First Alarm IPA at a special event held at our Wilmington brewpub. It was an emotional moment for all, with thoughts going to Chris, Jerry and their families, and also to the two firefighters still hospitalized with injuries from the blaze. There was a moment of silence, a toast and then many more pours.

“We chose an IPA because it’s a great beer, but also because we could make it rather quickly to honor those guys,” Justin added. “An IPA also allowed us to make a nice, balanced beer to appeal to craft beer drinkers, yet not intimidate noncraft beer drinkers. Last Alarm IPA has some nice citrusy and piney hop notes and a subtle malt profile, so there’s not an aggressive bitterness. The guys from 1590 agreed!”

Our chefs and kitchen staff got on board right away and created signature food for a special day: Smoked Beef Brisket Chili with roasted tomato, cumin, red onion, jalapeño and optional “3-alarm sauce” plus Fire House Wings served with celery and carrot sticks and a spicy Szechuan chili sauce, with sweet plum-ginger sauce for dipping—both perfect with a refreshing IPA.

“This is the kind of thing that makes Iron Hill unique,” Justin added. “We’re part of our community and stand by our community. We’re so proud to have raised money to support Chris’ and Jerry’s families. If you missed it, you can still help: there’s a GoFundMe page, too.”

With 12 locations in Pennsylvania, Delaware and New Jersey, there’s an Iron Hill Brewery & Restaurant near you. We specialize in handcrafted beers and fresh, from-scratch New American cuisine. Monthly releases vary by location, so scout out our beers on tap and visit us soon.

Nina Malone

Photos: Sophia DiPersio of Iron Hill Brewery & Restaurant